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Our work has a particular focus on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, especially diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney disease. These diseases account for a high proportion of deaths and the burden of disability worldwide. 

Our expertise in the streamlined design and conduct of large-scale observational studiesrandomised trials, and meta-analyses has resulted in studies which are often far larger than those conducted by other researchers. Our work has provided reliable information about the causes of disease and the effects of drugs, and has been enormously influential in improving global health.  

An MRC Unit was established within the University of Oxford’s Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) in 1995, co-directed by Professors Sir Rory Collins and Sir Richard Peto. Over the past 2 decades, MRC core support to CTSU, together with support from Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, has facilitated some of the world’s largest and most informative observational studies and randomised trials. 

In 2016, the University of Oxford and the MRC created a new strategic alliance, and the old MRC Unit within CTSU became a new University Unit called the MRC Population Health Research Unit at the University of Oxford (MRC PHRU), and Professor Colin Baigent was appointed as its Director.